For citizens, healthcare in Lebanon has become hard to come by. Most people in the country struggle to afford access to health care, despite government attempts at regulating expenses. Now, due to the recent influx of Syrian refugees, access for anyone in Lebanon has become a luxury. Here are the three things you need to know about healthcare in Lebanon.

Three Facts About Healthcare in Lebanon

  1. Healthcare is increasingly becoming scarce: Lebanon is a smaller country with a population of 3.7 million. Most live in the capital city of Beirut. Pricing is a major issue in the country’s healthcare system. The high prices have left about 50 percent of the nation uninsured from any type of health coverage.Other factors, such as a serious lack of medical supplies, have affected citizens healthcare in Lebanon. Hospitals have been reported denying access to those who lack insurance. This has to do with the shortages of hospital beds, medicine and staff. In an interview with, physician Kamal Mohanna stated, “we have 7,000 nurses in Lebanon, but we need 29,000.”
  2. Syrian refugees have put a strain on resources: Currently, 1.5 million Syrian refugees have entered Lebanon. These refugees find themselves sitting in refugee camps where health hazards are a daily occurrence. The influx of people has affected the already crippling inability to access healthcare in Lebanon, affecting both citizens and refugees.The number of families nears hospitals has also increased by 1,400 percent. The refugees themselves are struggling to find health providers and money to pay for said healthcare services. At the beginning of the refugee crisis, due to the increasing strain on medical supplies, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) became a free provider of healthcare. Soon after, the influx of aid forced the organization to begin charging patients a two-dollar fee to receive care.The UNHCR has also lowered the percentage of coverage for emergency patients. The commission formerly covered 85 percent of healthcare costs, but now only covers 75 percent.
  3. Government-funded efforts barely help: The Lebanese government has tried to implement new ways for citizens to have access to healthcare. The National Social Security Fund was created to allow all those who work to receive healthcare aid. Funding is dispersed based on a citizen’s income. The fund covers 10 percent of hospital costs, along with 20 percent of medicine and exam costs, while 100 percent of coverage is dispersed to patients who are terminally ill.

According to, “those enrolled with the National Social Security Fund lose their benefits upon retirement or loss of job, or in other words when they need them the most.” This is an example of how hard it is to receive and maintain healthcare coverage in Lebanon.

Maria Rodriguez

Photo: Flickr